Nephylym Volume 1
By Rei Kusakabe
Publisher: DR Masters
Age Rating: 13+
Genre: Supernatural
Price: $9.95
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Shun has a unique power to electrically charge metal materials.  A mysterious winged being named Ale picks up on his powers and chooses him to be her partner.  Shun’s classmate and school crush, Sanari, finds out and reveals her winged partner, named Blissful.  She explains that the beings are called Nephylym, and their chosen partners are called Answerers.  Together with Sarari and Tsukasa (Shun’s rival in love and an Answerer as well), they battle along side their Nephylym against Noirs that possess human beings.

I can’t remember the last time I read a volume that was so lackluster.  The story and characters are just cookie cutter cutouts of typical shonen action fare with some moe and moments of fanservice to draw in a audience that will hopefully be too enthralled by the cute little girls to notice the complete lack of a decent story.

I was hoping for a good read when I picked this up, and was quickly disappointed.  This title reads like a generic writing exercise.  Hero A has special power B that keeps him apart from his classmates, except for best friend C.  Hero A likes Cute Girl D, and gets her attention by helping her.  Hero A meets Mystery Girl E who gets him involved with supernatural fight and bonds with him to help him win.  Cute Girl D also has a Mystery Girl E and explains to Hero A about the battle she helps fight to protect mankind from Darkness F.  After a few battles to establish this, Rival G is introduced to compete with Hero A for Cute Girl D’s affection.  A plot like this should be the starting point of writing a story, not the story in and of itself.  But that’s all there really is to this first volume.  There are no interesting twists, and the few twists they try to throw in are completely predictable.

The characters are just as mediocre as the story.  Shun, the hero, is about as interesting a rock.  The only thing he does is give people static shocks.  The only thing he wants is to get together with Sanari.  Kusakabe tries to make him more heroic by having him want to release the sadness and pain that creates a Noir instead of just destroying it, but this just falls flat.  Sanari is a clumsy ditz.  I think this is supposed to make her more cute, but it just fails.  She supposed to be an Answerer, just like Shun and Aoyagi, but she constantly having to be saved.  So what’s the point of making her an Answerer?  Fanservice.  She has large breasts and wears short skirts. Aoyagi, who’s introduced in the last two chapters, is the typical forgettable smart guy that looks hot without his glasses.  He also can’t see past his nose without them, that’s why they are the focus for his power, so he can’t hit the broadside of a barn.  He’s about as useful as Sanari in a fight.  Then there’s the Nephylym themselves.  They are uber moe.  They are small, cute girls with wings who don’t speak and do as their Answerer (master) says.  How much more “ideal” can a girl get?  Shun’s Nephylym is ever dressed in a maid outfit.

This series hit all of my buttons; a ditzy female lead, fanservice, moe girls and no story to speak of.  The art is as generic as the characters it illustrates.  Even the villain, darkness that takes over people or things people are attached to that become charge with negative emotions, and are called Noir.  Really, can you be any more generic?  I can’t recommend this title.  There are much better supernatural battle titles than this that don’t need the fanservice to attract an audience.

Review copy provided by publisher

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